Navigating False Paternity Claims: Can You Sue for False Paternity in Texas?

In a recent case handled by the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, an individual found himself asking, “Can you sue for false paternity in Texas?” He was in a distressing predicament. He needed help from a family law attorney. This gentleman was going about his daily life when he received an unexpected letter from the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division.

Upon opening the letter, he found a notice that claimed he owed over $15,000 in child support arrears. This left him in a state of complete and utter shock. Most of us can empathize with the disbelief he must have felt.

This shock was entirely justified because our former client did not have any children. This was not about a hidden child from a past relationship emerging to claim child support. The truth was that our client knew the woman named as the child’s mother on the paperwork. She was an old high school friend with whom he had a close but strictly platonic relationship. Moreover, the child in question was not biologically his.

Taking Action and Asking the Right Questions

Rather than dismissing the letter as a potential error, our former client chose to act proactively. He consulted several family law attorneys, including us, to weigh his options.. He consulted several family law attorneys, including our office, to explore his options.

Ultimately, he chose the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, to represent him in addressing this perplexing situation.

His primary concern was clear: “Can a man with limited financial means challenge being falsely named as a child’s father?”

Can You Sue for False Paternity in Texas?

Sadly, many parents in Texas neglect their child support duties—often fathers. The Attorney General’s Office enforces these payments, and most cases involve legitimate child support claims.

However, our client was an exception to this norm. The mother of the child had falsely claimed him as the father to fraudulently collect child support. Unfortunately, the State often conducts minimal investigations into such claims.

Adding to the complexity, our client received a court date to resolve paternity but missed the hearing as he didn’t receive the notification. As a result, the State initiated efforts to collect back child support from another absentee parent.

A Positive Change in Texas Law in 2011

Fortunately, a significant change occurred in Texas law in 2011, benefiting men in situations like our client’s. This law allowed men to request DNA/paternity testing even after a court had previously declared them the child’s father. If a DNA test confirms that a man is not the biological father, the court may end his future child support obligations.

Before 2011, men could be compelled to pay child support for children not biologically theirs, with no ability to contest paternity after legal judgments. This was especially harsh for low-income men who also had to support their biological families.

The statute in question is Section 161.005 within the Texas Family Code. Essentially, it gave men previously declared as biological fathers in court proceedings the power to request DNA testing if no tests had been conducted before. A negative DNA test result would eliminate future child support and sever the parent-child relationship with the falsely claimed child.

However, it’s crucial to note that this statute applied only to cases filed before September 1, 2012. Beyond that date, if someone attempts to challenge paternity and the court determines they were aware they were not the father or should have realized it based on circumstances, the child support order remains in place, and the parent-child relationship persists.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

If you have questions regarding DNA and paternity issues or are wondering, “Can you sue for false paternity in Texas?” don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

A free consultation with one of our family law attorneys is just a phone call away. The case involving our former client is an extreme example. However, it underscores how the legal system can impact individuals who fail to take immediate action. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, serves clients across southeast Texas. We are here to assist you in understanding and addressing your legal concerns.


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  1. Challenging a paternity finding in Texas
  2. How can parental rights be terminated in Texas?
  3. Full Custody: What it means to you and what it can mean for your child custody case
  4. Termination of Parental Rights and an MSA in Texas
  5. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
  6. Relinquishment and Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
  7. Terminating Parental Rights in Texas on the Absent Parent
  8. Voluntarily Relinquishing Your Parental Rights in Texas
  9. What rights does a father have in Texas?
  10. Fathers’ Rights: Children Born Out of Wedlock in Texas?
  11. Mom Versus Dad Who Gets the rights? – Custodial Rights Vs. Non-Custodial Rights in Texas
  12. Husband Not the Father, what do I do in a Texas Divorce?
  13. I am not the biological father, but I want to be – Paternity by Estoppel?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s essential to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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